What should I study in graduate school?

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Kurushimi
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What should I study in graduate school?

Postby Kurushimi » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:47 am UTC

I'm entering my Junior year as a Math/ CS double major and I'm really uncertain of what I should study in graduate school. On the one hand I love learning about number theory and algebra and feel like researching that would be fun, but I fear that doing something so abstract with little impact on the world will leave me feeling unfulfilled. I really want to contribute to research that really changes the way the world works. I want to help create new technology, like the telephone, the computer, or the internet.

I've been looking into the field of quantum computers, because of they show the potential to change what computers are capable of. I'm interested in AI because of IBM's Watson. I feel that a computer with such strong language processing capabilities and large knowledge base could be a very useful tool.

What other fields of study should I look in to? What other rising technologies do you think show potential to change the modern world in the same way that, say, the internet did?

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SOSkanesumi ARK
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Re: What should I study in graduate school?

Postby SOSkanesumi ARK » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:22 am UTC

Well, school is an investment in yourself and your future, and like all investments it can be good or bad. What you nee to look at is whether or not these things are something you could see yourself doing for a career. What do YOU want to do with yourself?
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Роберт
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Re: What should I study in graduate school?

Postby Роберт » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:24 pm UTC

Why do you want to go to grad school? If that doesn't give you the answer of what you should study in grad school, it might not be a great reason to go to grad school.
The Great Hippo wrote:[T]he way we treat suspected terrorists genuinely terrifies me.

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LaserGuy
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Re: What should I study in graduate school?

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:43 pm UTC

Agree with the above. Grad school is a large commitment both in terms of time and effort, and in terms of opportunity cost for future earnings (esp. for PhDs.) Figure out what you want to do first, then figure out whether you need a graduate degree to pursue it. If you're a good coder, there's a decent chance that a double major in CS/Math will get you anywhere you want to go except for a pure research position.

Also: Everyone would love to be the person who invents the next Internet or the next cell phone. For 99.999999% of people who think that, it's not going to happen. Groundbreaking technologies aren't just lying around waiting to be picked up, and it's rarely clear, even to the inventors, when they've hit something revolutionary versus a gimmick.

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Jorpho
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Re: What should I study in graduate school?

Postby Jorpho » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:52 am UTC

Kurushimi wrote:On the one hand I love learning about number theory and algebra and feel like researching that would be fun, but I fear that doing something so abstract with little impact on the world will leave me feeling unfulfilled. I really want to contribute to research that really changes the way the world works. I want to help create new technology, like the telephone, the computer, or the internet.
I suspect the odds of you making a contribution of the sort you currently have in mind are very much against you. That sort of thing comes down to being in the right place at the right time with the right people more than any innate talent or effort you are willing to put forth. In the end, you will probably work to find "fulfillment" wherever fortune happens to deposit you.

If you want to do graduate studies, find something that really, really interests you to which you may contribute using the skills you have.


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